MOREHEAD CITY — One swimming advisory in Carteret County has been lifted, while another is in place at a different site, according to state officials.
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries announced Wednesday an advisory against swimming was posted at a sound-side site in Carteret County, where state recreational water quality officials found bacteria levels in the water that exceed the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality standards.
Also, a different swimming advisory issued June 15 for a sound-side swimming area in Carteret County was lifted.
Wednesday’s advisory is for the public access to Bogue Sound at 16th Street in Morehead City. Test results of water samples indicate a running monthly average of 44 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water. This exceeds the state and federal standards of a running monthly average of 35 enterococci per 100 milliliters, based on five samples taken within a 30-day period.
Enterococci, the bacteria group used for testing, are found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. While it is not known to cause illness, scientific studies show that enterococci may indicate the presence of other disease-causing organisms. People swimming or playing in waters with bacteria levels higher than the standards have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness or skin infections.
This advisory is not a beach closing, nor does the advisory affect the entire Morehead City area. Swimming advisories are for waters within 200 feet of the sign. The sign posted reads as follows:
“Attention, swimming in this area is not recommended. Bacteria testing indicates levels of contamination that may be hazardous to your health. This advisory affects waters within 200 feet of this sign.”
State officials will continue testing the site, and they will remove the sign and notify the public again when the bacteria levels decrease to levels below the standards.
The advisory issued on June 15, now lifted, was at the public access to Bogue Sound at Sunset Drive in Morehead City. Testing of water samples taken June 14 showed the area had exceeded the state’s and EPA’s standard for recreational use. Subsequent sampling of these sites show that bacteria levels now meet the safe swimming standard.
Recreational water quality officials sample 213 sites throughout the coastal region, most of them on a weekly basis, from April to October. Testing continues on a reduced schedule during the rest of the year, when fewer people are in the water.
More information on the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program is available at the program’s website deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/marine-fisheries/shellfish-sanitation-and-recreational-water-quality/recreational#about-the-program.
A map of the testing sites is also available online at the website deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/marine-fisheries/shellfish-sanitation-and-recreational-water-quality/recreational. The program’s Twitter feed is available at twitter.com/NCRecPrgm.